Saturday, January 21, 2012

Survey Saturday

I'm beginning to suspect there is some sort of nebulous conspiracy here in Phoenix. All through the week there's not a cloud in the sky, and for the last 4 weekends we've had medium to heavy overcast  weather. It's downright stultifying!

Anyhow, today was the Maricopa Waterfowl Survey, which is conducted every year by the Game and Fish Department. They get bird nerds and volunteers to walk, drive, or gallop all over Maricopa County taking inventory on the water birds. I've been doing my part here in central Phoenix, and I wasn't expecting too much in way of photography anyway.

There wasn't much out of the usual. There were lots and lots of Coots, Ring-Necked Ducks, and Canada Geese. Some Wigeon and Shovelers were seen along with Pied-Billed Grebes, wild Mallards, and a few Herons. There were also 3 Harris's Hawks at Encanto Park, which do not count towards the survey, but were a welcome sight nonetheless.

And there was this shy little guy:

The duck was all white, with a short stubby bill and overall length of about 12 inches--pigeon size. Given his diminutive stature and his stubby bill, along with my assumption that this is not a juvenile, he stood apart from the other typical white mallard-sized ducks one often sees around urban ponds. I'm not sure if he's a hybrid or just another species of domestic duck that I'd never seen before.

Here he is trying to eat an eucalyptus leaf.
Doh! Look at me; I'm confusing!
 He was a cute little thing.